5 Spinoffs You Probably Didn’t Know About
We’re living in an era of spinoffs, sequels, reboots, and remakes—it seems production companies, filmmakers, and showrunners alike just can’t get enough of cinematic universes and franchises. But, despite what it might seem like, these sorts of things have always been a part of the big Hollywood machine — especially spinoffs. In fact, there are many spinoffs you might not even know about.
Despite the character of Steve Urkel seeming so original and so inspired, the Winslow family actually originated on another show: Perfect Strangers, which ran from 1986 to 1993. The two don’t have much in common — Perfect Strangers follows a man and his foreign cousin navigating American life, while Family Matters follows the Winslow family through the ups and downs of life while dealing with their nerdy neighbor Steve Urkel — but they wouldn’t exist without one another. In fact, Family Matters went on to last one year longer than its parent series and remains one of the longest-running sitcoms with a predominantly black cast.
Despite the massive success of NBC’s Friends throughout the 1990s and early 2000s all the way up to its continued popularity today, its spinoff didn’t do so well. Joey, which obviously follows the misadventures of Joey Tribbiani, lasted only 46 episodes (or two seasons) before it got canceled. Granted, this was 2004-2006 when shows were given over 20 episodes a season, so 46 is still kind of impressive by today’s standards. It wasn’t exactly hated, so to speak, but its constant comparisons to Friends is most likely what caused its demise. Instead of New York, it’s LA. Instead of following a lovable group of selfish people, it focuses on just one.
There are actually a couple of different X-Files spinoffs, none of which were able to last very long (at least not as long as The X-Files, which still hasn’t ended for good). Millennium came first, and it managed to last three whole seasons before getting canceled. For 67 episodes, viewers were treated to the adventures of Frank Black and the mysterious Millennium Group. The Lone Gunmen came after, lasting only 13 episodes in 2001. It took a lighter approach to the often heavy material that The X-Files had to offer by following the trio of John Byers, Melvin Frohike, and Richard Langly, the fan-favorite computer hackers that frequently appeared on the show. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t last — maybe viewers enjoyed their ability to lighten up The X-Files, but didn’t want to endure an hour’s worth of it.
The late-2000s Steve Carell vehicle Get Smart was itself a remake, but it spawned a spinoff of its own. Remember Bruce and Lloyd, the two tech guys that goofed off at CONTROL headquarters? Well, they actually got their own movie. Strangely titled Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control, the movie takes place during the first half of Get Smart and doesn’t really feature any of the A-listers that help make Get Smart so funny.
Get Him to the Greek
Based solely on how often it plays on television, it seems fair to call Forgetting Sarah Marshall a surefire classic. Two standouts from the film are Russell Brand’s egotistical and eccentric rocker Aldous Snow and Jonah Hill’s obsessive and insecure waiter Matthew. That’s why it only makes sense that Aldous Snow would get his own spinoff a few years after the events of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Strangely, though, Hill plays a different character: he’s a talent scout obsessed with Snow who’s determined to bring him back into the spotlight. The movie doesn’t make much mention to its predecessor, which only makes the whole thing even stranger.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.